text: seven walking tours through historic philadelphia

Biddle House

Washington Square 11
Biddle House
Washington Square 10
Greek Revival example across the street

One of the great pleasures of walking in Philadelphia is looking at houses, not only 18th-century houses but all sorts of houses, for the city is a delight for architects and buffs alike. Continue along Spruce Street to number 715, the home of Nicholas Biddle (1786-1844), banker, scholar, architectural aficionado, author, editor of the literary magazine The Port Folio, and in 1823, president of the Second Bank of the United States. Biddle believed that there were two great truths in the world — the Bible and Greek architecture. He wrote, "I would endeavor to obtain a perfect model of the simple, chaste, and pure architecture of the ancients."

Across Spruce Street from the Biddle mansion are some handsome Greek Revival fronts that were saved because of the strong and concerted protest of area preservationists. The buildings are owned by Pennsylvania Hospital and serve at present as offices.

Washington Square and West